Copenhagen is a noisier and dirtier city than the other capitals I’ve been in and definitely not as well maintained. But it has beautiful parks and I spent the better part of today in its botanical garden at the U. of Copenhagen. A wonderful place, just like the one in Visby but far larger. And somehow, I walked almost directly to its own pieces of California: a little grove with all three Sequoia species. About the same size as the one in Visby so I presume seeds were circulating over here about the same time. As often happens in Nature, more it seems in places like the garden than in truly natural settings where I am more prone to joy, I become solemn, borderline sad but not really, serious is a better word. Why? I can’t say I know. There’s an element of feeling so identified with where I am and what I see and experience that I become one with it, which is positive in my way of thinking but a serious transition from a normal sense of self. And at other times the joy seems indicative of the same experience. Both reactions feel appropriate. The difference may have something to do with how active I am at one or the other moments—in the park/garden I sit and contemplate a good deal whereas in more natural settings I’m more active. Perhaps solemnity is associated with contemplation and joy with exerting myself. Joy is more satisfying as an emotion but not more valuable, real, or valid.

The botanical garden in Visby didn’t have greenhouses like the one here does—Many big ones in a giant, 150-year-old glass palace. I passed through them all yesterday and found myself feeling ambivalent about plants in “cages,” so to speak. I’ve read a lot about plant sentience over the last few years and although I don’t know if they find it aversive in any way to live in a greenhouse, and presumably that’s the only way they could live at all in this climate, it’s an even more artificial environment than the outdoor regions of the garden. It feels different to me, even if not to them. So, I spent most of my time walking around outside; beauty after beauty. And when I walked back to the hotel, I diverted through a public park of about the same size and surprisingly almost as lovely, although definitely not offering the enormous variety of the other. But it is a fine place and well taken care of; Copenhagen is a “messier” city than the others I’ve seen but it didn’t show in this park, which seemed to be treated with respect by its visitors and care by its staff of caretakers. Cities rub against my nerves but just getting some distance into parks and I breathe easier, feel better.


Photo by Kristijan Arsov on Unsplash

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